Church growth

When the Means Mystify the Ends

Tools are only as helpful as the knowledge available to employ them.  Give a child a bandsaw and he is as likely to do great damage as any good.  If we don’t understand something, it is very unlikely we will use it well.  Case in point, our cultural lack of […]

Finding What We Look For

Scott Kline, a professional driver, managed to wreck a million-dollar prototype hybrid car when it was first being tested.  When asked to explain what happened, Kline reported, I got so engrossed looking at all the dials and gauges and screens on the dashboard that I forgot to look where I […]

Failure In An Instant

At what point do we finally wake-up to the fact that there is no such thing as a lasting, transformative “quick-fix?”  We have suffered through over 50 years of “church-in-box” programs that have produced poor results at best.  Disciple Bible Study came closest to delivering transformation, but ultimately “popular” did […]

The Costs of Low Expectations

While cleaning out some files the other day, I came across a folder of interviews I did in 2004 with 22 lifelong United Methodists who, in their 60s, 70s and 80s, made the decision to leave the denomination and join another church.  These people did not make the choice based […]

Fantasy Planning

Picture, if you will, a small, rural congregation.  The average age in the church is early 60s.  The weekly worship attendance is approximately 50, and there is one nine-year-old who comes about once every three weeks.  She is the whole Sunday school.  The community is a church-going community — about […]

Open Doors 101 – Part 2

Yesterday I began a reflection and critique on my most recent engagement with the ReThink Church campaign.  Today I want to continue the reflection on some “meta-issues” that are related to, but not specifically about, ReThink Church.  However, before I go any further I do want to say that I […]

Open Doors 101

This weekend we hosted a ReThink Church training event in the Wisconsin Annual Conference.  The turn-out and response was great, and it was an excellent reminder at how all-over-the-map we are as The United Methodist Church.  Lots of information was shared, resources were lifted up, and the words “invitation,” “welcome/welcoming,” […]